Gig review: Sting & Paul Simon, Glasgow

IN COMING together for this literally titled Paul Simon & Sting On Stage Together tour, the Greenwich Village troubadour turned world music ambassador and New Wave bombshell turned plucker of lutes appeared to have brought their entire respective bands plus spares to the party, allowing plenty of scope for indulgent interludes and all but swamping the offbeat Cajun character of The Boy in the Bubble in multiple guitars and basses.

Sting and Paul Simon were generous in letting the audience hear their old hits
Sting and Paul Simon were generous in letting the audience hear their old hits

Sting & Paul Simon

Hydro, Glasgow

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****

Yet this non-stop three-hour show was far from heavy weather, more a mainly dignified dance, with regular collaborations bridging the alternating solo sets. Despite their divergent musical styles, this odd couple looked comfortable side by side on stage, swapping vocals on each other’s songs. Simon led on the mellow Fragile, while Sting’s rendition of America elicited contented “aaahs” from the audience.

There were occasional jarring contrasts between Sting’s rock bluster and Simon’s lighter touch but one cannot say this wasn’t a dynamic concert. Inevitably, there were occasional longueurs over such a bumper set but the duo were generous with their hits, including Simon & Garfunkel and Police classics such as a sinewy Message in a Bottle, a rhythmically splendid Roxanne and the simple storytelling sincerity of The Boxer. A joint rendition of Cecilia was largely busked by Sting in a rare show of spontaneity before the stars harmonised on Bridge Over Troubled Water and finally dispensed with their musical cast of thousands for a closing acoustic cover of The Everly Brothers’ When Will I Be Loved?

Seen on 11.04.15